Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What issues are we missing?

Dear editor:

The articles in the Woodstock Times are more and more feeling like a kind of PR for our local Chambers of Commerce-- (pumping up the Playhouse and Shandaken's eateries in the last issue for example.)  Why can't we expect some authentic journalism in our weekly paper?  We already know Woodstock's radio station is doing "international" rock muzak and couldn't give a hoot about anything of consequence in our area.

However up the road there exist some pretty impressive journalism models.  There are two new radio stations (WIOX Roxbury and WGXC in Catskill/Hudson) which take their communities quite seriously.  The Catskill Mountain News is doing world class research into local issues covering the local environment with responsible reporting in depth.

What issues are we missing? Well, fracking for one. Does anyone in Woodstock want to know the status of local leases and the position of the DEC and the NYS forestry service? Or what about our local legislators?  What is their position on fracking?  The New York Times took fracking quite seriously with extensive FOIA work and a comprehensive look at the economics of what some have called the "Enron of the environment".  And how about Round Up?  Recent reports indicate that the ubiquitous herbicide has caused birth defects and cancer in lab animals.  Why is it being sprayed copiously next to the tourist rail tracks and our state highways-- often just a few inches away from reservoir feeder streams.

And there is real international news in which Woodstockers are a crucial element.  This story has made headlines from China to Paris to Johannesburg. The US Boat to Gaza was organized by Woodstock citizens.  Three of our neighbors have put their lives on the line to stand up for justice in the Middle East:  Richard Levy, NIck Abramson and Gail Miller have been on the boat and have been active in the actions with include hunger strikes and attempts to run the blockade enforced by Greek officials doing the bidding of Israel and the U.S.  Woodstock and Saugerties residents Jane Hirshman, Laurie Arbeiter and Helaine Meisler are key support persons in Greece for this action.

There is no community of this size in the United States that has sent so many people in the defense of Palestinian rights. And this is not newsworthy?

For shame,
DeeDee Halleck

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